ALBEMARLE, N.C. – Authorities said a 16-year-old student pulled a handgun from his waistband while arguing with another student Tuesday in front of a North Carolina high school, firing shots that struck the victim’s hip and stomach.
The gunman – identified as Jaylen Russell -- then dropped the 9 mm weapon, walked calmly into the school and turned himself in to the principal of Albemarle High School, they said.
The school resource officer, who is also an Albemarle policeman, said he heard the gunfire and rushed to the assistance of the victim, Bernard Miller, 17. He was taken to a local hospital and then to a hospital in Charlotte. Miller was reported in stable condition.
Police Chief William Halliburton said the shooting occurred about 7:40 a.m. as students arrived for classes at the 470-student high school in downtown Albemarle in southwest North Carolina. The school was promptly locked down and classes later canceled for the day.
Halliburton said more than 20 officers were on the scene with minutes after receiving a 911 call. He said they did a sweep of the school during the lockdown, but determined no one else was involved.
“This was an isolated incident between two students,” the police chief said. “What could have happened, we’ve seen across the country, we escaped that. We’re thankful he gave himself up.”
Authorities identified the shooter transferred to Albemarle High School this year from nearby West Montgomery High School in nearby Mount Gilead, N.C. The Montgomery Herald said Russell was involved in a stabbing there last year in an altercation with another football player.
Albemarle police charged Russell with assault with a deadly weapon.
A student who witnessed the shooting, Brittany Montgomery, said she heard Russell and Miller arguing in the school courtyard before shots rang out. She said she ran into the school to alert officials.
Russell was arrested by E.S. Branch, the school resource officer, in the principal’s office. Stanly County Schools Supt. Terry Griffin said there was no indication the shooter had taken a gun to the school previously.
“There is nothing to indicate that anything that happened in advance might have alerted us to what happened this morning,” Griffin told the Charlotte Observer.
Details for the shooting were provided by the Stanly News & Press of Albemarle, N.C.